What does success in Indigenous higher education look like?

In this keynote address, Dr Nikki Moodie opens the Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration second Critical Public Conversations series by questioning what success really means in Indigenous higher education. After a decade of failure, the new Closing the Gap targets suggest that 70% of young Indigenous people will have a tertiary qualification in a decade. How will the sector respond to the rapid structural changes necessary to enrol and retain Indigenous young people in Australian universities, at least doubling current rates? In this address, Dr Moodie suggests that what we mean when we say ‘Indigenous education’ must be urgently clarified if young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their communities are to be better served by the sector. As calls for universities to decolonize their curriculum and built environment increase, how can we imagine more culturally relevant ways of understanding our relationships between settler and Indigenous systems and knowledges to achieve Indigenous aspirations in higher education?

Recording transcript


Dr Nikki Moodie, co-director Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration and Senior Lecturer in Indigenous Studies and Sociology in the Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne.


Associate Professor Sana Nakata Associate Dean (Indigenous), Senior Lecturer in Political Science and co-founder of the Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration, the University of Melbourne. Sana trained as a lawyer and political theorist, Sana’s research is centred upon developing an approach for thinking politically about childhood in ways that improve the capacity of adult decision-makers to act in their interests. Sana has recently completed an ARC Discovery Indigenous Research Fellowship examining Representations of Children in Australian Political Controversies (2016-2019). She is the author of Childhood Citizenship, Governance and Policy (2015), and along with Professor Sarah Maddison, edits the Springer book series: Indigenous Settler Relations in Australia and the World.